Chat at 1.
Q: I have been with, you guessed it, "Rob" for 3 years, I have lived with him for almost 3 years. Things moved incredibly fast, that much I'm aware of. Rob is 32 and I'm 23. The age difference has never been an issue until recently. I'm feeling as though I have too many things I want to experience before I settle down and really commit to someone like he wants me to. He has been talking about marriage for about 2 years now and it's kind of a scary thought to me. Rob is a great guy. He fulfills a lot of the things I need in a relationship. We've had our problems but they have nothing to do with why I'm looking for advice.
I'm very young, I know that. I don't always make the best decisions and I know I've got a lot to learn. The point of all of this is, I know I'm not ready, but I care about him very much.
Can you shed some light on how you're supposed to decide between throwing away a great man and a good relationship so that you can live your life and be ready for settling down when the time comes -- or whether you're supposed to stay with someone who cares very deeply for you even though you might be stuck wondering whether there is something more suitable for you than just a nice guy?
– Where to Go From Here, Boston
A: You have to fly free, little bird. Your boyfriend was talking about marriage when you were just 21? He should know better. He probably wasn't ready for that kind of thing until he met you when he was in his 30s, right? It's time to tell him that marriage won't be on your mind for a long time -- maybe years.
Your letter doesn't say, by the way, that you're madly in love with Rob and confused because of your age. You call him "great" and "nice," not "the guy I know I want to marry, just not now." Even if he wasn't talking about marriage, you'd be having doubts.
Come clean about where you are in your head. Make it clear to Rob that you're not on his track -- not now, and maybe not ever. He might make this decision for you.
I know that the thought of being alone is scary, but isn't the commitment scarier? You asked how you're supposed to give him up. My answer: By trusting yourself and leaning on your friends. You're 23 and you've got lessons to learn, but you know what feels right. Believe in that.
Readers? Should she let go of something good for the unknown? Is Rob to blame here? What is Rob says he'll wait for her? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.